New UN chief says to work closely with AU

Addis Ababa, Jan 31 (IANS) The newly appointed UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres expressed keen interest to work with the African Union (AU) and its member states.

“The African Union is working for unity, peace and progress for all people in every corner of this great continent,” Guterres said at the opening of the 28th AU summit here on Monday.

He said the UN would work closely with the AU as the pan-African bloc endeavours towards realisation of its development agenda and ensuring peace and security across Africa, Xinhua news agency reported.

“You can count on the full support of the UN for all your efforts to strengthen national institutions, to maintain the rule of law, ensure accountability, promote good governance, facilitate the peaceful transition of power and prevent violent extremism,” he said.

According to the Secretary-General, implementing agenda 2063 and Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), promoting peace and security, and human rights are among the major areas that the UN envisages to work with AU.

Guterres also commended African nations for providing large number of peacekeepers around the world, and for their “most generous host of refugees”.

He noted that Africa as a continent encompasses some of the world’s fastest growing economies.

The world is in the second year of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development Goals and Africa has adopted a plan that is even more far-reaching and ambitious: Agenda 2063, he said.